Friday, January 12, 2007

The shortest freedom

Exactly one year ago, on January 12, 2006, Mehmet Ali Agca was released from prison under parole. The reason for which he spent the preceding 25 years in jail was a very memorable one: The attempt to kill Pope John Paul II in Rome.
His life before that episode was really a criminal one. He was trained by organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Syria; also, smuggling in the border between Turkey and Bulgaria was one of his main occupations.
Before trying to kill John Paul II, this individual was recruited on an organization called Bozkurtlar (Gray Wolves), which is an extreme-right group in Turkey that has as main ideology to unite all the Turkic nations (mostly located in Central Asia) as the "Great Turkish Empire". Not surprisingly, the founder of this movement, Alparslan Türkes, is known to be an admirer of Hitler and his ideologies (I wonder if he knows that the nazi regime didn't like Turkish people as well).
During his time with the Bozkurtlar in 1979, Agca assassinated an editor of a left wing newspaper. He got imprisonment for life, but escaped the jail and fled to Bulgaria and, after some time going from one place to another, he ended up in Rome to perform the assassination of the Pope.
The reasons that drove him to attempt to kill the Pope are still unclear (and will probably remain like that); some theories suggest that he was paid by Turkish mafiosos to do so. Other ideas have to do with a supposed relationship between Agca and the Russian KGB. However, he attempted the assassination on May 13, 1981, at St. Peter's Square. The result: the Pope was wounded with four bullets, and Agca arrested by the Italian police and sentenced to life imprisonment (for the second time).
During Agca's second life-imprisonment term, John Paul II, who survived the assassination attempt against him in 1981, forgave Agca and actually founded some type of 'friendship' with him and his family.
He was released from prison in 2006 after being pardoned by Italian authorities, action that the Turkish authorities didn't like. Eight days after that, on January 20, the Turkish justice determined that the time he spent in prison in Italy didn't substitute his term still pending in Turkey, so he was returned to jail.
Regardless of the fact that John Paul II forgave him, my opinion is that the Turkish authorities acted very quick and wisely to get him back to prison to pay for his previous crimes. I think that it's good to have individuals like Agca in jail; after all he has demonstrated through his life being a ruthless assassin, an individual who is not able to contribute anything positive to society. People like him tend to keep the same attitudes and as such they only represent a danger for decent societies, it's better to keep them safe on the dark.


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